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Arizona Governor Wants Searchable Teacher-Discipline Database

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she wants to encourage greater involvement by parents in their children's education, and evidently that includes giving parents easy access to teachers' disciplinary records.

The Republican governor proposed creating "searchable database" for parents that would allow them to research the licensing background and disciplinary actions teachers have faced. She also says she wants to change the process through which teachers can be decertified.

The governor described her creation of a database in a proposal released yesterday, the same day she delivered her "State of the State" speech to lawmakers. The speech does not offer details of the creation of the system, according to a transcript, and it offered few specifics on education policy.

Brewer's state, like many around the country, has struggled to close budget gaps in recent years, and education programs have absorbed signficant cuts. Arizona voters approved a temporary sales tax in 2010 that was pitched, in part, as an effort to spare schools from even deeper reductions. In her speech, the governor applauded the fact that the tax measure would expire after three years.

In more detailed policy documents released yesterday, Brewer said the state must "continue the conversation to assure sufficient resources for our public education system." She said that she was asking a special council to study school funding issues and how the state could higher standards for schools. She suggested she favors making major changes to how schools are funded.

The current system fails to recognize "remarkable innovations in instructional delivery, and it leaves too much to chance in rewarding great teachers and principals who know how to bring out the best in students," she said. Rather than rewarding "institutions for merely finding students to occupy desks for part of the day of part of the year," she added, "we must invest our resources in schools and support the teachers who deliver the results we seek for our children, no matter the educational setting." The goal is not to "pour more money into a system that is not delivering the results we need or want."

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